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Monday, June 8, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee: the New Political Pawns

Today, we learned that American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, have been convicted to twelve years of hard labor in North Korea on charges of "grave crimes" agains the nation.

North Korea convicted two American journalists and sentenced them Monday to 12 years of hard labor for crossing into its territory, intensifying the reclusive nation's confrontation with the United States.

The Obama administration said it would pursue "all possible channels" to win the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's San Francisco-based Current TV media venture.

The good news, if there is any, is that the two journalists, Ling and Lee, are likely to be put through the nightmare incarcenation scenario we all fear. The North Koreans understand that once they are released these two will tell their tale, and the North Koreans don't want to be seen as the vicious human rights abusers they are. So, it's likely they are not in a concentration camp but rather a prison where they are treated reasonably well.

They are also likely not to ever serve anywhere near twelve years they have been sentenced to. Such an action would make the reporters the center of all negotiations between themselves and every country, China included.

Rather, the North Koreans are likely holding them in order to extort something of value from the rest of the world. This is the Modus Operandi of not only the North Koreans but despotic regimes all over the place. This sort of extortion is part and parcel of despotic regimes going back years and years.

The North Koreans are likely using the two reporters in order to negotiate while they agree to halt this sort of kidnapping or halt something else they have no intention of stopping. That's another thing the North Koreans have done for years. They have been able to negotiate concessions from the rest of the world, for instance they've been removed from the State Dept. state sponsors of terror, while they continue to violate their own end of any and all agreements.

Unfortunately, Ling and Lee are now pawns in the latest reincarnation of this dance they have played for a long time. The reason this continues to happen is that they never face any real punishment for any of this extortion and often they are rewarded.


Chaz said...

This is what happens when you gallivant around the world without the appropriate respect for the dangerousness of these tyrants. I'm tired of feeling sad for these reporters--if you play with fire, you might get burned.

mike volpe said...

Wow, is that serious? Laura Ling's sister, Lisa, went into North Korea undercover. She reported on the plight of the poor in that nation. Would you have felt the same lack of sympathy if she had been jailed.

These two journalists are extremely courageous. You are criticizing them likely from the comfort of your home. They risked their lives to report from that area and it is shameful that you show such a lack of sympathy.

Finally, they claim that they were always in China and it's very likely they were kidnapped. Though, I'm sure that won't change your position that they deserve no sympathy.

Anonymous said...

Yes they are courageous, but they knew the risks.

Game over

mike volpe said...

Who are you? When you do something one millionth as courageous maybe then you have earned the right to be so dismissive of them. Until then, you are just someone who anonymously is commenting on the internet while they risk their lives.